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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Bank Negara maintains OPR at 1.75 pct

 


Bank Negara Malaysia has maintained the overnight policy rate (OPR) at 1.75 percent at its second monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting today.

The central bank's MPC considers the stance of monetary policy to be appropriate and accommodative.

"Given the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic, the stance of monetary policy going forward will continue to be determined by new data and information, and their implications on the overall outlook for inflation and domestic growth.

"The bank remains committed to utilising its policy levers as appropriate to foster enabling conditions for a sustainable economic recovery," it said in a statement.

BNM said, domestically, the latest indicators point to improvements in external demand and continued consumer spending.

The reimposition of containment measures will affect growth in the first quarter but the impact is expected to be less severe than that experienced in the second quarter of 2020.

"Going forward, growth is projected to improve from the second quarter onwards, driven by the recovery in global demand, increased public and private sector expenditure amid continued support from policy measures and more targeted containment measures," the central bank said.

Downside risks

The growth will also be supported by higher production from existing and new manufacturing facilities, particularly in the electrical and electronic and primary-related sub-sectors, as well as oil and gas facilities.

"The rollout of the domestic Covid-19 vaccine programme will also lift sentiments and economic activity.

"The growth outlook, however, remains subject to downside risks, stemming mainly from ongoing uncertainties in developments related to the pandemic, and potential challenges that might affect the rollout of vaccines both globally and domestically," it noted.

Meanwhile, the headline inflation in 2021 is projected to average higher, primarily due to higher global oil prices. In terms of trajectory, headline inflation is anticipated to temporarily spike in the second quarter of this year due to the lower base from the low domestic retail fuel prices in the corresponding quarter of 2020, before moderating thereafter.

Underlying inflation is expected to remain subdued amid continued spare capacity in the economy, it said, adding that the outlook, however, is subject to global oil and commodity price developments.

BNM said the global economic recovery, while uneven, is gaining momentum, supported by steady improvements in manufacturing and trade activity.

The ongoing rollout of vaccination programmes in many economies, together with policy support, will further facilitate an improvement in private demand and labour market conditions.

"While financial markets have experienced bouts of volatility, financial conditions remain supportive of economic activity.

"Risks to the growth outlook have abated slightly, but remain tilted to the downside, primarily due to uncertainty over the path of the Covid-19 pandemic and effectiveness of the vaccination programmes," it added.

Bernama

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